Malasaña and La Latina
Madrid’s barrios alone are usually far more interesting than the typical tourist attractions, as each has its own unique history, population and traditions. Here are our two top choices for hipsters and food lovers.
Welcome to the hipster barrio of Madrid! Here there’s a place for everyone. Back in the 80s the narrow streets of Malasaña were the center of la “movida madrilène”, a experimental movement that began after the death of Spain’s dictator, Francisco Franco, and influenced Malasaña’s artsty and alternative vibe.
Here you will find some of the best cafes, vintage clothing shops and bookshops. In the evening locals gather at the Plaza de Dos de Mayo to have a drink outside. You do not even have to move, just sit and a street vendor will come and offer you a cold can of beer for as cheap as one euro. From there you can walk through the lively streets of San Vicente Ferrer, La Palma and El Pez and explore one of their many bars.
Drinks are quite cheap and the ambience is young and full of energy. Whatever your musical taste or preferred surroundings you will for sure find a spot. Metalheads will like Rey Lagarto, where “calimochos” (red wine mixed with Coca Cola) are popular. Those nostalgic for la movida days can go to TupperWare. In Malasaña you will not be bored.
How to get there? Metro stop: Tribunal (Lines 1 and 10)
La Latina is the oldest barrio in Madrid and it’s where the city started as a Islamic citadel inside the city walls. It is the typical barrio of Madrid: narrow busy streets and big crowded plazas filled with tapas bars and people having cañas in terraces from afternoon until late at night. However, it is very popular amongst locals and tourists because it has managed to keep its authentic character, colorful and diverse.
The most popular of its squares is Plaza de la Cebada, but it’s worth your time seeing others, like Plaza de la Paja or Plaza de Puerta Cerrada. The best time to explore is on a weekday morning when there is not much going on.
La Latina welcomes hungry travelers. This barrio has always been one of the favorites for eating good and cheap. The two main streets, home to the majority of bars and restaurants are Cava Alta and Cava Baja. It is also where the famous Casa Lucio is located, and if you go there you cannot miss their “huevos estrellados” (fried eggs, often with potato and ham) and their “sidra” (cider). Other recommended places are La Musa, or el Viajero (famous for its rooftop terraza). In La Latina you will live the authentic madrileño lifestyle, especially if you go there after visiting the nearby “Rastro” (Madrid’s most popular open-air flea market) on a Sunday morning.
Best season to visit is during the summer, when there are free outdoss concerts, ompetitions, parades and big celebrations at bars.
How to get there? Metro stop: La Latina (Line 5)